GAINESVILLE, FL- Fans got their first glimpse of the 2012 Gator football team on Saturday afternoon at the Orange and Blue Debut Presented by Sunniland. After a very slow offensive start, the fireworks erupted late, as the Blue squad defeated the Orange squad 21-20 with 34 points scored in the final quarter of action.
Jeff Driskel scored on a 1-yard keeper with :53 seconds remaining to give the Blue team a 21-14 lead. Jacoby Brissett rallied the Orange squad but his two-point conversion attempt with :23 left fell short.
For the game, Driskel connected on 10-of-11 passes for 133 yards with the Blue squad while Brissett was 8-of-11 for 149 yards and two touchdowns with the Orange squad and 1-5 for 52 yards with the Blue team.
The Blue team amassed 294 yards of offense, 222 in the air and 72 on the ground. The Orange squad finished with 325 yards of offense, 169 in the air and 156 on the ground.
Brissett opened the game on the first series for the Blue squad and went 0-2 on the opening drive while Michael Gillislee had three carries for 24 yards including a 20-yard scamper around the right end.
Tyler Murphy came in for the second team offense vs. the second team defense and moved his squad into the red zone with a 15-yard scramble on fourth and 5, as well as a 6-yard pass to Solomon Patton. Caleb Sturgis came up empty on a 34-yard field goal attempt, however, pushing the kick wide left.
Driskel entered on the first team offense’s second possession. Driskel carried the ball for 7 yards on his first play, then hit Jordan Reed on a play-action rollout for 15 yards to move the Blue squad into Orange territory. Driskel went 5-for-5 passing for 34 yards on the drive, an 11-play, 59-yard effort, but the drive stalled when Omarius Hines was stopped short on a fourth-and-2 at the Orange 11.
Brissett returned and led the Orange squad down the field, first hitting Latroy Pittman with a 43-yard strike down the left sideline before finding Hines for a 12-yard gain down to the Blue 5-yard line. On third-and goal Brissett found Quinton Dunbar for a 4-yard touchdown pass with :16 left in the half for the game’s first points.
The Orange squad gained 128 yards in the first half, 81 through the air and 47 on the ground. The Blue team had 99 yards of offense, 42 passing and 57 rushing. Brissett was 4-of-5 passing for 75 yards with the Orange squad and 0-2 with the Blue team. Driskel finished the half 6-of-7 passing for 42 yards, all with the Blue team.
Gillislee finished the half with six carries for 35 yards and Driskel had three carries for 18.
Brissett opened the second half with a 25-yard strike to Hines and took the Blue team down to the Orange 3-yard line before they turned it over on downs.
Then came the fourth quarter as the offenses heated up, combining for 34 points in a wildly entertaining final 12 minutes.
Driskel led the Blue team to an early fourth quarter score, marching the team 70 yards in seven plays, including a 44-yard strike to Andre Debose. Hunter Joyer carried it in from 3 yards out to knot the game with 9:45 remaining.
Driskel remained in the game and marched the Orange squad down the field for the go-ahead score, a 5-yard touchdown run by Mack Brown. The drive was sparked by a 30-yard end-around from Solomon Patton down to the Blue 11.
When the Blue squad got the ball back Brissett hit Michael McNeely for a 52-yard strike down to the 4-yard line. Chris Johnson then carried it in from 4-yards out to tie the game 14-14.
Tyler Murphy entered at quarterback and threw an interception on the first play. Driskel then hit Trey Burton with a 31-yard pass to the Orange 1-yard line and then kept it himself to give the Blue squad a 21-14 lead.
Brissett wasted little time in rallying the Orange squad, hitting Trey Burton with a 36-yard pass and then a 34-yard touchdown strike with :23 left to cut the lead to 21-20. The Orange squad went for two but Brissett overthrew his target on the play and the Blue squad held on.
Check back at GatorZone.com later for complete coverage from the Orange and Blue Debut.